In my childhood I recall my grandmother reveling in the Camelot years of the Kennedy's. As a teen I recall voting for Carter with the zeal of a righteous 'know-it-all'. In my early 20's I was relieved to find that my voting record did not factor into my service as an intern in the Reagan White House. Phew! You see, 1980’s Washington had a category for what might be perceived as ‘youthful indiscretion’. It was forgiven.
Have you ever wondered why we have "alarm" clocks to wake us? In order to move out of a place of sleep, we usually need something severe to cause a more conscious state. It would be more enjoyable if we could easily wake up from a deep sleep, but those other tools - soft music, a gentle touch - often encourage only a turn-over to continue the sleep.
Luke 24:13-35 the Walk to Emmaus
13 Now on that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, 14 and talking with each other about all these things that had happened. 15 While they were talking and discussing, Jesus himself came near and went with them, 16 but their eyes were kept from recognizing him. 17 And he said to them, “What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?” They stood still, looking sad.
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.
"You never know what may cause them. The sight of the Atlantic Ocean can do it, or a piece of music, or a face you've never seen before. A pair of somebody's old shoes can do it. Almost any movie made before the great sadness that came over the world after the Second World War, a horse cantering across a meadow, the high school basketball team running out onto the gym floor at the start of a game. You can never be sure. But of this you can be sure. Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears, it is well to pay the closest attention.
Proverbs 2/Wisdom speaks: “If you . . .receive and treasure my words . . . if you call out for insight . . . if you seek it like silver . . . Then you will understand awe, righteousness and justice and equity and every good path; you will find knowledge of God; this knowledge will be pleasant to your soul and discretion will watch over you. Then you will walk in the way of the good . . .”
If/Then. Protasis/Apodosis. Condition/Consequence.
Maybe the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant churches of Arminian Theology (Methodist, Church of England, some Baptists) have it right when the advocate for a cooperative soteriology? “IF-Then.” Holy Spirit educated free Collaborators. Grace+ Human Cooperation. Free Will and Prevenient Grace. Jesus said, “Oh Jerusalem . . . I wanted to gather your children . . . but you were not willing.” Choice. Cooperation.
“And hope sprouts new, because God doesn’t give us a list. He invites us into the story.”
— Emily P. Freeman / A million little ways.
During this season of Lent, I have been reflecting on the art of pausing.
Luke 5:27 – “After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector by the name of Levi sitting at his tax booth. ‘Follow me,” Jesus said to him.
I found it interesting to read what happened prior to Jesus whooping it up with Levi at a banquet with the tax collector and his friends. The ones that the Pharisees and their scribes would not be caught dead with. See right before Jesus connected with Levi he was (I imagine) impressed with the tenacity of the paralytic’s friends who cut a hole in the roof and lowered their friend down in front of Jesus to be healed. Jesus took one look at the man and told him his sins were forgiven. This caused an uproar! Who was he that he could do that! So Jesus met them where they were at and instead said, “Ok, well then take up your mat and go home!” (v. 24) Who was he to claim such a thing! What audacity he had!
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “God has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath. And he knows everything, inside and out. He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall. But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind. Isaiah 40: 27-31 The Message
There was a heartbeat, heard only by God and by rejoicing angels and insects in the darkness of a death-cave. Before the sun’s rising, there was a heartbeat and resurrected life.
Sabbath ended with Sunday’s breaking light and on a dirt path leading to a tomb the steps of three women scattered dust, causing the earth to beat with urgency.
There was a rhythm to the morning felt only by God, and rejoicing angels, and spiders and butterflies, and those that sensed such things. The work of wrapping the body of a Savior needed doing but the body was gone.
My friend Sami Awad is one of the bravest people I know. He leads an amazing organization in Bethlehem called the Holy Land Trust. In fact, Sami is a friend to many of us sharing this Lenten journey to Easter. When asked what the days leading up to Easter feel a year ago, Sami shared: It's been a long and dark winter in the Holy Land.